Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Canadiens Trade Desjardins For Ramo: What Do You Think?

As the dust settles on the Montreal Canadiens' latest move—the Habs traded AHLer Cederick Desjardins to Tampa Bay for Karri Ramo—there has been no consensus, among pundits, as to the merits of this trade.

Whereas people tend to either love or hate any move that Habs GM Pierre Gauthier makes, this trade, for some reason, seems to have people split right down the middle.

If you were to read Arpon Basu's article about the trade, you'd read that this is a bad deal for the Canadiens because it reduces their goaltending depth.

In addition, it leaves the Canadiens vulnerable if, heaven forbid, Carey Price goes down to injury this season, as Desjardins—in Arpon's opinion—was more fit to play at the NHL level than Curtis Sanford.

My colleague at, Eric Engels, offers a similar take to Mr. Basu going so far as to call Desjardins a top prospect.

Mr. Engels also feels that the Canadiens goaltending depth took a hit with this trade, and that it did little to benefit the Habs.

Moving off of the board a little, there is a strong counter-point by Rick from All Habs, who in short, states that at 25-years of age, Desjardins still hasn't learned how to handle the puck properly, and has struggled with inconsistencies.

Rick also goes so far as to point out that Desjardins career-year last year had a lot to do with playing in an excellent system, under Guy Boucher.

So, what is the truth of the matter?

In my opinion, it is a little from column A and a little from column B. I mostly feel that this is very neutral trade. Desjardins for Ramo? Who cares?

Desjardins, while coming off of a great season in Hamilton has struggled with inconsistencies. We have to remember that the Canadiens acquired Desjardins as an unsigned free agent, in 2006, to provide goaltending depth.

While he did a decent job in that area, I don't feel that Desjardins is a player who could push Price in any legitimate sense.

Given that Ramo will not even play in North America this year, there is no question that sending Desjardins to Tampa leaves the Habs weaker in nets.

However if Price does suffer an injury this season, I think that Sanford will be the perfect player to put in some mileage with the Habs.

Sanford's 108 NHL games played, career 2.76 GAA and his .901 SV% make him an acceptable NHL-level backup and I would rather roll the dice with him than Desjardins.

But that's just me.

The other important note here is that given that the Canadiens recently ended their affiliation with the ECHL Cincinnati Cyclones, they needed to find a place for goaltender Robert Mayer to play. This trade should allow Mayer to compete for quality playing time in Hamilton.

Who knows what went on behind the scenes with new Tampa GM, Steve Yzerman, again going fishing in the Habs pond? I am sure that Tampa's head coach, Guy Boucher, had something to do with recommending Desjardins to his GM.

Even still, Yzerman himself stated in his press conference that he felt this was a depth move for their organization.

Looking at the recent prospect rankings by Hockey's Future, we see that they rank Desjardins as the No.17 prospect overall for the Habs.

I wouldn't, personally, call that a top prospect.

Moreover, if we go by the Hockey's Future rankings, Ramo gets a 7.0C grade while Desjardins gets a 6.5C grade. Looking at those analyses, this deal looks like a wash.

At the end of the day, there is so little Habs news to talk about that I think people went a little nutty with this trade.

Like a starving lion, dying to eat a piece of meat, Habs nation tore this minor news story to shreds, fueled by the famine that is the dog days of summer.

While there are pros and cons to this move, it is, ultimately, a very neutral trade that means very little for either side.

I think the new season can't come soon enough, because these dog days are starting to devour us all!

So what do you think about this move? Do you like it? Do you hate it? Which goaltender do you think is better? Inquiring minds want to know...


Personally I think this is a good move, not a great one but a good one. It frees up a contract spot, Desjardins was never going to be #1 in MTL, sorry to say, and even backup is putting alot of optimism in the mix. Ramo is a solid 1B goalie, hes showing what hes got in the KHL, developing, and hes much younger with alot nicer potential.

Habs chop at their goalie depth yes, but if you were to complain about goalie depth it would have been trading Halak, this deal is good for Montreal in the long run, as Ramo could challenge Price for the #1 spot, or take a solid back up role of 30-35 games a season.

The only danger that comes to mind with this trade is, if Ramo comes back here, which he stated with his Agent that he intends to compete for the #1 spot after this coming season, will this spark a new goalie controversy? Price vs. Ramo? There will always be Price haters, and I think thats the only problem you face with this kind of deal. Its definitely a deal for the future, and its consistent with Gauthier's new philosophy of young, high end talent, that comes cheap to build around. Smart move by Gauthier for unloading his 1b AHL goalie for a potential 1b NHL goalie.

Hi there James and thanks for your comments!

You make some excellent points!

I agree that Desjardins just didn't have a future in Montreal and that Ramo, as a younger player, could have a higher upside than Desjardins.

re: "Smart move by Gauthier for unloading his 1b AHL goalie for a potential 1b NHL goalie."

Very well and succinctly said. That sums it up nicely.

The only other short-term concern I have is that Gauthier, by putting all his eggs in the Carey Price basket, is putting more pressure on the kid's shoulders.

If he can't handle it, this could end up being an ugly year.

That aside, I really have no problem with this deal.

So how do you think Price will fare this season?

I think Price has alot on his shoulders, but no one behind his back, in the sense that last year, he didn't have the pressure of winning on his shoulder, more so the pressure of Halak creeping his way up to an Established #1 Goalie in the NHL status. This year Price's supporting goalie cast looks pretty weak, which should help him mentally, as both Auld, and Sanford are seasoned vets, and they know Price is the future.

The pressure Price has now is the pressure of winning, however his body language, and response of not playing in the playoffs, was pretty encouraging, it seemed as though he finally bought into the Team concept, and Markov calling him out finally sunk in.

One thing is for sure, Cammalleri, Subban, and Gomez have all openly said they are a team, and are very confident in Price. I think with proper coaching Price could have a great year, however if injuries soon follow, and Price loses a few games because his key team mates are injured, I think the media, and fan frenzy that is Montreal, will start to eat him alive once more, and I think if he can't rebound on his own at some point it will be a very grim looking year.

I've said many times among my colleagues that the Habs need a stronger Defensive Supporting cast. I think Hamrlik and Andrei Kostitsyn's days are numbered, and when or if they have a great year, they might be individually traded else where to bolster our D core. Price needs more Dmen like Hal Gill to keep his mind at ease and at the same time be a stud on the PK.

All and All whatever Happens there will be Price haters, Price lovers, and people in between, its a team sport, and Price needs to remember that he plays for the Montreal Canadiens, not the Montreal Carey Prices, and if he keeps that in mind I think the wins will come alot easier to him that we would expect.

I've been a huge Price supporter, and I am confident he has all the tools and potential to be a top 5 goalie in the league, you've heard players, coaches, staff all say the same thing, and I believe the only part of Price's game that needs to develop and be consistent is the mental aspect, once he grasps that and because the Ice Cold Veined confident Goalie we drafted, he will be a very dangerous person to play against.

^ typo in my last post, Because should be becomes, sorry! lol

Good stuff, James! You clearly have an excellent understanding of this team. OK, let me dive in....

Re: Price, from all accounts, Markov calling him out was a turning point of sorts for Price. After that point, he got knocked down a peg and started to realize that he was only going to have success through hard work, and he couldn't take things for granted.

While he did seem to become a team guy during the playoffs, and looked to have matured, there is still the question of him trying to hit Semin with his stick (from the bench), and him shooting the puck at the celebrating Caps players.

Those two incidents don't sound like maturity to me, so while I too think he might have turned a corner, I think that I want to reserved judgement until I see how he performs.

You are 100% right about the Canadiens D-corps. They are, generally speaking, an aging/slow defensive corps. This is one of the reasons why their goaltenders were left exposed last season.

One way or another, Hamrlik will be gone by the trade deadline or the end of the season, so I don't think there is much to do there.

AK represents a totally different case becasue when he is on, he looks like a 30-40 goal scorer. The problem is, like Kovalev, he tends to be streaky and can easily become a floater.

I think AK was lost, last year, in JM's defensive system. If he can't adapt this year, he too could be gone by the deadline.

And yes, Price has ALL of the tools to be elite, he just needs to gain some more mental fortitude.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I think that Carey Price at 25 will be better than Halak at 25.

Thanks for responding so quick I know you must be very busy, but I do enjoy these conversations, especially when the feedback your getting is constructive, and intelligent!

As for Halak vs Price, I think the controversy going on there, was just killing Price, I'm pretty sure watching your position being stolen right from under your nose can't be a very comforting feeling.

If you haven't read this article on Ramo yet, its in french, however there are quotes from Ramo and His agent stating Tampa was a mess, he didn't want to go back there, hes willing to come to Montreal after next season to compete for a #1 spot, he doesn't demand a #1 position from the Habs but he wont settle as a back up, he emphasizes that he wants to play.

It goes on to say he loves Montreal, would be an honor to wear the jersey, etc...

This just brings up my point before, will A new rivalry start? Ramo is not much older than Price, maybe a year? Almost the same dimensions, they would be a fierce 1A, 1B, tandem, however I think if anything this gives us a bit of a bargaining chip to play around with. Say we sign Ramo and he fights for the spot, by trade deadline he has already shown why he is #1 status, well we might have just acquired another Halak for Eller and Schultz situation. I think Ramo could be traded to a team that needs a goalie (again), and we could get a nice return. This is if all goes well of course, Ramo states in the interview NHL is his #1 priority but if he can't start in the NHL he will go somewhere where he can.

What do you think Kamal?

Good stuff, James! Thanks for the link! I added it to the news section with a stick tap to you.

Please feel free to email me any links, in the future, that you think would be good news pieces:

OK,re your need to thank me for responding...I thank YOU for reading my stuff and posting comments! Honestly, as much as I love writing about the Habs, I enjoying chatting with people about them even more!

Very interesting interview of Ramo. He sounds legitimately happy to be coming to a true hockey market.

Maybe the motivation to get icetime in MTL will help turn him into a better player.

We'll see what next season brings.

As for Ramo, I think he has the potential to be a good back-up, but I am not so sure that he has what it takes to push Price, IF Price pans out the way he should.

That being said, you're right in that IF Ramo becomes a solid goaltender and Price is solid for the Habs, then they can absolutely turn around and move himout for assets like they did with Halak.

That being said, I think it is a little to early to be projecting that far ahead. I think it is a good sign that Ramo is excited about Montreal and it will be very interesting to see how he plays this year and in the future.

Depending on how he develops, it could turn a very "whatever" deal into a bit of a steal. But again, that is still far down the road.

My initial reaction was "meh". After 24 hours and a lot of reading on the subject, that hasn't changed. I do wish Stevie Y would get his jollies by raiding another team's locker room for a change tho. I love Stevie, but he needs a new hobby.

LOL! Well said, Tyg!

This is a "whatever" move. Re: Stevie Y, there is no question that he is putting a burr up a lot of Habs fans butts with his thievery.

Thanks for your comment!

PS: You are missed in the Twitterverse...

Hey Kamal would you mind following me on Twitter? I'd love to pick your brain about habs stuff!

My twitter name is Yarfangor and James_Habs

I also have a Column on just click my name it should bring you there!


Very cool about your column...tell me more on Twitter...


Sorry guys I have been away and have not seen this blockbuster move. How on earth could Gauthier trade away a franchise goalie and blue chip prospect for a has been NHL goalie? This has to go up there with some of the worst trades in NHL history.

I see this move quite frankly along the lines of Markus Naslund dealt from Pittsburgh to vancouver for Stajanov. Or perhaps the Chelios for 2 years of Savard.

Ok now that I have that out of my system, seriously?????

An AHL goalie who is about to be a UFA and who is 25 against a goalie of equal talent who is younger. neither likely to ever play in the league, neither expected to do much.

This is an absolutely nothing deal on all fronts. Now Sandford and Meyer carry the reigns under another great AHL coach.

LOL! Ahh, Willey...the voice of reason.

Yes, I too think this is much ado about nothing, but then when there is nothing for people to talk about, this is what happens!

Is it October yet?

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